There are other debates out there

I stopped paying attention to the presidential campaign three months ago. It wasn’t because I don’t care about politics or am apathetic toward the impending election. On the contrary, I stopped paying attention because I care about politics.

When the primary elections finally made it to California in June, I didn’t just vote for a presidential candidate. I voted on local propositions, school board members and city council representatives, all of which felt significantly less futile than the former.

Filled with lists of meaningless names and legal jargon, the novella-sized voter information guide was overwhelming at first — exponentially so at 10 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day. I was tempted to wing it: a yes here, a no there, Mary Mack over Joe Smith. At that point, all I knew for sure was which political candidate I preferred. I was only prepared to answer one page of this colossal ballot. Despite the work in front of me, I read through that information guide and walked into the booth an informed voter.

While the presidential race and apparent lack of adequate candidates for the prestigious governmental role of United States President has many voters feeling hopeless and even apathetic, it is important to remember that this election will decide more than one governmental position. When the spotlight is pointed at the same two or three presidential candidates for months on end, it can be easy to forget this truth.

By no means do I consider the presidential nomination trivial or insignificant, nor am I simply brooding over the suspension of my preferred presidential candidate’s campaign. I’ve stopped fuming over articles and lamenting televised debates because I would rather spend time learning more about the other boxes on the ballot. After all, with the United States electoral college system, it is these bills and propositions that a voter is more directly contributing to.

This election in particular will deal with a multitude of controversial subjects as well. Nine states will vote on marijuana laws, five states will consider minimum wage alterations, and four states will decide on gun control propositions.

Scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, it’s evident that people – especially Baylor students – have strong opinions about politics. Besides Texas, the next largest percentage of Baylor students come from California and Colorado, both of which will vote in one or more of these categories come November. Colorado will also vote on the legalization of physician assisted suicide. This general election will be a chance to put those opinions into action.

While this election certainly has taken a turn for the unexpected and the seemingly pointless, I refuse to lose all hope in our governmental system. The United States is not a democracy in the sense that citizens vote on every law, but the United States is also not a monarchy. Our government has a system of checks and balances that voters get to contribute to, and a big part of that is voting on particular bills and measures that directly affect citizens.

I may not be up to date with the most recent Hillary Clinton scandal or the latest offensive statement Donald Trump has made, but I am ready and excited to have my voice heard in the 2016 General Election.